13 April 2012


I'm fortunate to live in a town with easy access to good food ingredients, via the upscale grocery stores Whole Foods and Fresh Market, the local bounty provided at the Downtown and Shelby Farms farmers markets, a network of little Asian markets, and yes, even the monolithic Kroger empire has stepped up its game at several locations to provide a wide range of options for the increasingly diverse and culinarily curious market of Memphis.

I'm excited to be within walking distance of the new second location of my beloved "International Market", which goes by names like Farmer's Market, Mercado Latino, and many others. It's a sort of multiethnic supermarket with thousands of ingredients, non-mainstream meats and organs, fruits and vegetables you won't see anywhere else, and prices for fresh herbs that are low enough to reflect that the damn things grow like weeds in the right environment. "Here's enough mint to season a whole flock of lambs for 50¢." I'm really excited about walking to grab sugar cane or obscure dried chiles or frozen rabbits or all the other great things that I can't get anywhere else.

In the meantime, because that picture above was sub-par, and I think I was making the woman in the white car paranoid, here's a recent photo of an ersatz sangria that I really loved. A bit of grapefruit juice, a layer of vodka, and then a slow pour of leftover red wine.

The "blood in the water" effect was really beautiful and I only really captured it well on the second glass. Doing a manual focus while also pouring wine and trying to focus on each with separate eyes was daunting but ultimately rewarding.

As pretty as it is, the sangria was ultimately unrewarding. It tastes better after steeping with fresh cut fruit overnight, and a splash of brandy or orange liqueur makes all the difference.

So a note to my friends: when I show up with a load of weird looking potatoes, fish heads, monstrous carrots, and strange leafy vegetables, just know that when it comes to food, beauty and flavor don't always go hand in hand.

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